Agile Project Management Challenges and How to Deal with Them

Blog Post • Best Practice Insights •

Agile project management is a work methodology that has proven to bring effective and organized work habits in the workplace. However, all development teams face some challenges. Especially ones that are transition from non-Agile to Agile project management. During the process of adapting to new practices, you’ll most likely encounter common Agile project management challenges.

The key is to prepare for such challenges and prevent any damage that could be made. Agile challenges need to be tackled in a smart and strategic way. The problem might have already come up or you simply want to prepare for possible issues. Knowing how to handle the most common challenges will provide you with a valuable safety net.

Inadequate Office Arrangement

Aside from making changes in the organization, you might have to make some physical changes to the office. The Agile method relies on communication and cooperation. You’ll often need to get together in the same space and work as a team. If the office space consists of small offices or cubicles, working together on the project will be difficult.

The problem at the physical organization should be recognized at the very beginning. The solution is to rethink the floor plan or find an adequate co-working space that will meet your requirements. If you try to work in inadequate space, the process of Agile project management will be tiring and disorganized.

Not Accepting the Change

Employees who are used to traditional approaches can show some resistance to the Agile framework. Their dissatisfaction may be openly shown or simply spotted by the way they act.

Breaking people’s work habits and teaching them something completely new isn’t an easy task. However, the hardest part is to convince them that the new method is for their own good as well.

Once you get them to understand that the Agile method will benefit all, they’ll be more open to learning new ways.

People are often afraid of the unknown so make sure that you explain the Agile methodology to the team. Emphasize the advantages, stress why you opted for that methodology, and resolve any of their doubts.

Unexperienced Scrum Master

The position of the team leader is taken by Scrum Master in Agile. The Scrum Master is the one who needs to ensure that the team is applying Agile principles. In order to do that, he needs to be an expert in Agile.

What often happens is that an organization just repositions an experienced team leader to the position of Scrum Master. That is not the best approach.

A Scrum Master needs to be qualified and knowledgeable of Agile methodology. Especially considering that it is up to them to teach and monitor everyone else. In case there isn’t a qualified individual who can take over this role, it is advisable that the HR team hires someone who will be suited for this job.

Lack of Communication

Running a remote team can put some challenges ahead of you, especially communication-wise. Different time zones and poor communication channels can lead up to a lack of communication.

Without consistent communication, Agile loses its purpose. That is why it is best to make sure that even remote team members check in regularly.

Additionally, the communication channel that is used needs to be multi-purposed. An example of a multi-functional platform that can streamline communication is Slack. It has an instant messaging system, it allows document sharing and message organization, and it offers voice and video calling options.

Skipping Daily Meetings

At first, the discipline for daily meetings can be at its best. With time, that can change.

The more work comes into the picture, teams can start avoiding daily meetings, thinking they are unnecessary. This can lead to bigger problems provoked by uninformed team members and poor organization.

Daily meetings should be an essential part of Agile. They allow team members to get clarity on possible issues, discuss any risks, and agree on the working schedule.

These daily meetings can be brief. Even a 15-minute meeting can be sufficient. Discuss deadlines, daily assignments, urgent tasks, budget, and similar to assure that everyone is on the same page.

Testing on the Last Day of Sprint

Testers can have trouble with understanding the importance of consistent testing. The problem occurs when developers finish their work on the last day of the sprint. This leaves testers with a task to test, identify bugs, and find a solution within a brief period. If the tests aren’t completed correctly and solutions aren’t found in time it can negatively impact the project and cause delays.

Testing needs to be incorporated in all phases of the Sprint. This way, the developers and testers will have sufficient time to work together and find a solution to any problem.

Relying Solely on Instructions

Teams who are used to traditional project management can be too dependent on instructions. Since Agile emphasizes taking ownership and high engagement, this could lead to issues.

Individuals need to take control of their work instead of expecting to be told what they need to do and when to do it. Changing this mindset can be challenging but achievable.

The task of breaking these habits falls onto the Scrum Master. They need to encourage team members to take ownership and come up with their own solutions. Open communication and support are what the Scrum Master needs to emphasize to help the team adopt new habits.

Agile solutions can result in finishing the project successfully while saving the company money and time. Of course, this can only be done if the Agile framework is implemented correctly.

Having awareness of the most common challenges will help you prevent them from surfacing within your team. None of these problems is unsolvable but they need to be tacked appropriately and in time.

About the author

Daniela McVicker
Content Planning & Digital Marketing Expert

Daniela McVicker is a professional writer with a background in content planning, and digital marketing. Currently, she is the chief contributor at TopWritersReview, a website that reviews essay writing companies. Daniela helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.

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